Date: 6th – 12th December 2005
Place: Vientiane, Laos
Malaysian YEAFEO Delegates:
(IEM G&S HQ)
Sdr. Suresh Yegambaram, Sdr. Yau Chau Fong, Sdr. Cheng Wei Loon, Sdr. Ngeow Yen Wan, Sdr. M. Karthigesu, Sdr. Wong Chee Fui, Sdr. Lim Terk Yiang, Sdr. Wilson Lai, Sdri. Bebe Kueh, Sdr. Alex Tan, Sdri. Heah Hooi Kiang
(IEM G&S Penang Branch)
Sdri. Catherine Sim, Sdr. Andy Lian, Sdr. Sim Tzer Yung, Sdr. Lau Tze Liang, Sdri. Tan Hui Sze
Sa Bai dee (Hello in Laotian Language)!
Yes, it is the 12th YEAFEO in the 'land of a million elephants', Laos.
In this particular edition, the Graduate & Student Section (IEM G&S) has created a few firsts in the delegation ; for the very first time, we have included our G&S branch delegates together and we have gathered the biggest ever contingent to YEAFEO, comprising of 16 delegates from Kuala Lumpur and Penang Branch.
It is indeed another magnificent 7 days of exciting and unforgettable trip for every delegate.
Deep into all the delegates' hearts, it is an experience that would carve deep memories into them.
6th December 2005 - The Departure...
Our delegation departed from our respective international airports to Bangkok for a transit to Udon Thani, a province city 80km away from Vientiane, Laos.
We put up a quick night in Udon Thani, did some night market shopping, tasting of the local food, experiencing the night life in this small little town.
7th December 2005 - Journey To Vientiane
6am in the morning would normally be sleeping time for all of us but with the passion and enthusiasm to enjoy the trip to the fullest, we decided to trade our sleep with sightseeing.
We departed for Vientiane after breakfast. We stopped by the border town of Nong Khai, separated by the Mekong River with the Laos border.
Our first visit in Nong Khai was to a famous temple called Wat Po Chai. The temple is famed for a large bronze-Buddha with a solid gold head decorated with precious stones (rubies). The temple building houses a number of wooden carvings and murals. The murals depict the history of the image – originally from Laos.
Next destination was to Wat Sala Kaew Goo.
It is often known is one of the most bizarre attractions in Thailand, comprising sculptures some of which are up to five stories tall, it is a very strange mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.
Then we proceed for shopping and lunch at The Taa Sadej market.
The Taa Sadej market in the centre of town is very famous, and many Thais and foreigners come here especially to see its wonderful array of things from Laos, China, Vietnam and Thailand.
After lunch, we departed to Vientiane via the Friendship Bridge, crossing the Mekong River.
We checked in to our hotel, The Done Chan Palace which is also the venue for this year’s event.
We then had a welcoming dinner at the hotel’s ballroom. This is platform where new bonding of friendship are made as we met up most of the rest of the Young Engineers’ delegates; exchanging business cards, taking group photos and getting to know each other more.
8th December 2005 - YEAFEO Country Report & Board Meeting
The day kicked off with the opening ceremony of the 23rd Conference of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (CAFEO 23).
The ceremony was officially declared open by Lao PDR's Deputy Prime Minister.
SURESH TO CONTINUE...
After the opening ceremony, it is time for the young engineer's YEAFEO Conference.
The conference started with the presentation of country report from each country.
The day ended with a formal dinner being served to all the delegates. 9th December - The YEAFEO trip & Closing Ceremony
After the first day of toiling and formal activities at the board meeting, the second day of the YEAFEO programme was more relaxing with trips and visits.
The first stop was to their premiere National University of Laos's faculty of engineering.
We firstly greeted by their dean of faculty and proceeded with the visits to the laboratories, lecture halls and general offices. Then we proceeded to visit The That Luang.
That Luang as the National Symbol is featured on the National Emblem of Laos. It was constructed in 1566 by King Say Setthathirath in a typical Lao style and is one of the best known That or stupas in Laos.
After lunch, the journey continues to two famous temples, namely; Vat Phra Keo and Vat Sisaket, which is the only temple in Vientiane that has survived the destruction of the city by the Siamese in 1828. It is the oldest monastery standing intact in its original form, and certainly one of the most interesting in the whole country. Inside the main hall, and along the walls of the courtyard surrounding it, are hundreds of little niches and shelves containing a total of 6840 Buddha images.
And the final destination was to the bowling alley at the Laos International Convention Centre. The Young Engineers had a very fun time there not because of the bowling but for the fun and fellowship.
At night, the closing ceremony dinner was held. As usual, every country would have to produce their country performance.
What was expected from the Malaysians? Well, we have been boring these years, chanting the old little Rasa Sayang tune every year.
Certainly not this year!
We made a really impactful performance this time around.
With bigger delegation and better preparation, we started with a simple multimedia presentation on CAFEO and welcoming of the next CAFEO in Malaysia.
This was followed by the performance depicting the three main races in Malaysia, namely the Chinese, Malay and Indian.
We did line dancing ala Malay and Indian tradional dance.
That was remarkable indeed.
10th December - Leaving Vientiane
The morning was spent mostly on another round of shopping at the morning market area. Some of us also took the chance to visit the The Victory Monument is situated at the north end of Lane Xang Avenue and resembles Paris' Arc de Triomphe - as it is sometimes known. During the day, the monument can be climbed and makes an excellent vantage point of the city.
In the afternoon, we departed back to Udon Thani.
On our journey back to Udon Thani, we decided to drop by at Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, a site declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution. The site presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals.
At night, as usual, we did another round shopping of souvenirs to be brought back to Malaysia.
11th December - Leaving Udon Thani
We diverted out of Udon Thani to a small province called Nong Bua Lamphu , 46 kilometers from Udon Thani.
Here we visited the Wat Tham Klong Phen, located at the foot of the Phu Phan mountain chain 13 kilometers from Nong Bua Lam Phu, is peaceful and ideal place for those who seek mental tranquility. The temple used to be the meditation place for Phra Achan Luang Pu Khao Analayo who is revered by Thais nationwide. In the temple grounds there are a cave housing an ancient two faced drum, a stone engraved Buddha image and the Luang Pu Khao Museum where collection of his utensils and a statue of Luang Pu Kao are displayed for Buddhists to see and worship.
In the late afternoon, we left Udon Thani for Bangkok.
In Bangkok, we were very fortunate as we were hosted by the EIT (Engineering Institution of Thailand) Young Engineers which we have met earlier during the YEAFEO meet in Laos. This shows how fast friends are made in YEAFEO.
We were treated to our sumptuous dinner and with that kind of hospitality shown, we would certainly be making a quick return to the country.
12th December - Selamat Pulang
After six full days of visits, conferences and fellowship, it's time to say good bye to the wonderful countries of Laos and Thailand.
We arrive safely back to KL and Penang respectively.
All look tired walking out from the airport terminal. Though tired, all of us have ultimately enjoyed this trip.
Till we meet them again next year in Malaysia, YEAFEO 2006.